As a content writer, I often get asked, “What exactly do you write?” And as I attempt to explain the nuances of my day-to-day, I’m often met with, “Oh, so you’re in digital marketing?” Yes, well, part of that team!
In simple terms, a content writer crafts high-quality content tailored to a specific target audience, primarily for digital marketing purposes. This includes engaging blog posts, captions for social media posts, and email newsletters, to name a few.
Well-crafted content can boost website traffic, showcase expertise, and build trust and authority for a brand, and content writers are the ones who make that happen.
But that’s not all we do! Stick around and you’ll have a better idea of everything content writers do.
What Is Content?
Content is any type of information, material, or media that is created to convey a message, educate, entertain, or engage an audience and share across different platforms and mediums. Things like written articles, blog posts, social media captions, images, videos, podcasts, and infographics, to name a few.
The purpose of content is to communicate with a specific audience and provide value, whether that’s through offering information, solving problems, telling stories, or simply capturing attention. It plays a crucial role in marketing, communication, and information sharing.
Who Needs a Content Writer?
If you’re creating content online, sooner or later, words will be involved. This is obvious for things like blogs, video creators also need scripts, and small businesses need emails for their marketing campaigns.
The words that go into crafting this content need to engage readers and keep them hooked from start to finish, while also satisfying the search engines so that the content doesn’t get lost in internet space. This involves a delicate balance of creativity and technical skill.
So if you don’t have the time or know-how to craft these words, you will need to hire a content writer to help you out.
Types of Content
There are so many different content types out there to be written. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular types of digital content professional writers are putting out.
These informative and engaging are all over the internet. Small businesses create blogs to increase organic traffic to their website, affiliate marketers start blogs to promote products, and some blogs are created simply to share information.
Blog posts can vary in length and tone, catering to a target audience’s interests.
Writing copy is slightly different than writing long-form content in that it aims to evoke emotions and prompt actions to convert readers into customers. Other content forms, like long-form blog posts, might focus more on in-depth education and traffic generation.
Some writers specialize in one form or another, but the lines between these roles can blur, and many talented writers can do both.
Social media captions
A few lines can make a powerful impact, driving likes, shares, and comments.
Email marketing is another great way to engage an audience. Campaigns often include welcome emails, ongoing email newsletters, and promotional offers.
Crafting an attention-grabbing subject line for emails is essential, and these messages typically conclude with a compelling call to action, urging readers to take the desired step forward.
A well-crafted product description is more than just a summary; it’s a captivating story that highlights the features and emphasizes the benefits in a few lines, enticing you with its uniqueness.
While features provide tangible details, benefits answer the crucial question: “What’s in it for me?”
Even video creators need content writers. Scripts are written content that guides presenters through video content. It ensures a clear flow of information, engagement, and effective communication.
What Else Does a Content Writer Do?
As I said before, content writers often wear many hats! Let’s take a look at some other things a content writer might take on that are vital for a successful content strategy.
Producing accurate content is essential. Not only for Google’s ranking algorithm but for the good of the reader as well. Ethically, a content writer should do thorough research while writing to ensure the utmost accuracy.
This sometimes involves reaching out to subject matter experts (SME) within the company we are writing for, if there is one available.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
A content writer’s efforts could be all for nothing if the content doesn’t get in front of the right eyes. That’s where SEO comes in.
SEO is a broad term. There’s on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and keyword research that all come into play.
To break it down to the very basics, to see your blog post rank on Google or your product description pop up first on Etsy, you need someone to research keywords that are in high demand but have low competition, and those keywords need to be incorporated into your content.
You may hire someone specifically for SEO purposes, however, content writers need to have at least a basic knowledge of SEO to properly apply the keywords throughout the article and to optimize the structure as well.
If you find a skilled content writer with SEO experience, they’ll be able to help you out with both.
Manage content calendars
Planning the timing of your content releases is crucial. It ensures a steady stream of content and also helps to pinpoint the optimal moments to share on social media when your target audience is most active.
If your content writer is taking care of your SEO keyword research, they’re also likely managing your content calendar.
Update and refresh existing content
Life moves fast – and so does the internet. That means your content can become out of date quickly too.
Search engines love fresh, relevant content. So to stay in Google’s good graces, content writers are often tasked with breathing new life into blog posts that have fallen behind the times or articles that have lost their keyword ranking.
Refreshing your content keeps information relevant and appealing to both your audience and search engines.
As the final brushstroke on the canvas, content writers are meticulous editors. We watch out for grammar mistakes, make sure the facts are accurate, and maintain the brand’s unique style.
Our attention to detail ensures that the end result is perfectly refined, giving readers an experience that’s smooth and free from any distractions.
Sometimes, content writers step into someone else’s shoes and write articles that are published under someone else’s name. For this type of writing, it’s important to get the tone right for continuity’s sake so we match the writing style of the attributed author.
What Qualifications Does a Content Writer Need?
You don’t necessarily need a college degree to become a professional content writer but many companies prefer educated writers because they want someone with a reliable work ethic. Or, in certain niches, a company may look to hire a writer with specialized degrees or industry-specific knowledge.
Either way, considering the roles outlined above, there are several fundamental skills that every content writer should have in their skill set:
- Excellent Writing Skills
- Language Proficiency (in the target language)
- Ability to Work Independently
- Time Management Skills
How To Become a Content Writer
If you’re interested in a content writing career, and you think you have what it takes, I would start by learning some SEO basics. Coursera has some amazing free courses that can get you started.
Then, focus on gaining experience and building a portfolio that you can later share with potential clients. When you’re first starting out you may need to take a few lower paying jobs to establish a presence. This will also give you time to figure out how long certain tasks take you so you can price your content writing services accordingly.
Next, promote your business. There are several different freelancing sites out there that you may choose to go with, although those will charge you a portion of your earnings, so you may chose to put your own SEO/writing skills to the test with a blog of your own. Not only will it help find new customers, but it’s also handy to show to clients as part of your writing portfolio.
Being a content writer means more than just typing away. It’s about crafting words that spark connection, inform, and engage. We’re the storytellers behind blog posts that resonate, the architects of social media captions that grab attention, and the composers of emails that inspire action.
From researchers to SEO to editors, we wear many hats. But our goal is always to ensure your content thrives in the digital landscape. So next time you’re reading an article or scroll through a post, remember that a content writer’s touch is behind those words.